The Ole Miss Lady Rebels bested the Arkansas Little Rock Lady Trojans in a tune-up game that head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin should be delighted with. The Rebels won 58-40 in a low-scoring affair that saw Ole Miss dominate the boards in a way that the Trojans just could not make up for.
Little Rock came out red hot as they led 14-13 after the first quarter. That, however, would be the last lead the Trojans would see for the rest of the game. The Rebels outscored the Trojans 12-4 in the second quarter on the back of some intense defense and tremendous rebounding; Ole Miss ended up being too long and athletic for Little Rock to overcome.
This Little Rock team is responsible for taking down an SEC opponent in each of the last two years, so it is a promising sight that the Lady Rebels did not let the moment get too big for them. In a game that could have ended in disaster based on Little Rock’s resume, McPhee-McCuin’s team showed resilience and played with a hair-on-fire mentality.
After halftime and for much of the fourth quarter, this was around a 10-point game, but toward the five-minute mark, the Rebels put their foot on the gas and extended the lead to 18, which ended up being the final margin of victory.
As the announcers mentioned numerous times, Ole Miss is a dangerous team because they play with a score-by-committee system. Very rarely will we see a singular player carry the offensive load; instead, the Lady Rebels have a roster full of players who can contribute six to 10 points a game.
McPhee-McCuin dipped her foot deeply into the transfer portal this past offseason, and as a result, her roster boasts eight players that played for other colleges last season. For any team, gelling together can be difficult. The chemistry aspect does not seem to be a problem for Ole Miss, but the shooting could be a cause for concern.
Ole Miss finished the game shooting 25% from beyond the arc, a number that McPhee-McCuin would like to see in the upper 30s. The Lady Rebels are at their best when they employ their drive and kick offense; this offense is only deadly when the players pose a threat from a distance.
Every team deals with these kinds of struggles to start the season, so there is no need to panic at this point. Ole Miss is full of capable three-point shooters that will figure things out as the season progresses. However, if this issue is not met with a solution, we could see many more low-scoring games from this team.
The Ole Miss Lady Rebels are back in action against Southern Mississippi on Wednesday Nov. 16 at 6:00 p.m. CST in the Sandy and John Black Pavilion. Come out and support the 3-0 Rebels in their in-state matchup against the Golden Eagles.